Christmas in Austin
For the first time, Lauren and I spent our Christmas season in Austin after returning to Minneapolis and Carpenter a year ago. No, there was no snow, nor was it particularly cold out, and our families were 1,000 miles north, but in most ways it still felt Christmassy.

On Christmas Eve we were invited over to Chris and Jenny’s apartment for a Hawaiian-themed Christmas party as those two had just returned from a long honeymoon trip to Hawaii. We hung out there for a few hours before returning home to Skype with the Poulter family during their holiday celebration. After opening each other’s presents, Lauren talked me into going to the 11pm mass at a nearby church.

On Christmas Day we invited our fellow Austin “transplant” friends who were sticking around town over to the house for a lazy day of brunch and Christmas movies. While lounging around with the Willoughbys (DC/Virginia), Bartholics (Ohio), Megos (Indiana/Arkansas), and Mike Franklin (Indiana), we watched Home Alone and the first two Die Hard movies which technically are Christmas movies, surprisingly.

After that it was back to work for three short days. Almost everyone took vacation time over those three short days sandwiched between two four-day weekends, but with a major product launch pushed up to January 3, I really did have a ton of work to do and went in all three days. It was just me, Randy, Brian, and Josh in the building, so we put Arrested Development on TV and breezed through the first two seasons while hammering away.

2013 Preview
Barring a morbid turn of events in the next 36 hours, 2013 will mark the fourth time I’ve lived in a decade ending with 3. Back in 2003 I was but a young sophomore at Dakota State when the new year turned over, and in the summer I would return for my second year working at Valleyfair.

In 2013 I think we’ll be doing a bit of traveling. Lauren begins the year with a store opening down near Houston and will be gone for a week, leaving me and Hound home alone. Who knows what hijinks we’ll get ourselves into. We also intend to visit Seattle in June for the Kyla wedding and perhaps take in a Mariners game. A visit back to the Twin Cities in September for the big Walshichetti wedding is also on the calendar. At some point, possibly in the mid-spring, I hope to make a trip back to South Dakota.

I’m sure we’ll hatch ideas for a few new household projects, and having to do taxes for the first time as homeowners which I’m sure is stupidly complicated. Lauren already has plans for us to start a healthy challenge of sorts to start January. If she can achieve some sort of healthiness goal by month’s end, she’ll win an even bigger store discount. I will probably try to do another couple 5Ks in 2013, but I have no intentions of participating in this 12-mile death march many of my co-workers are planning to run.

If my predictions hold true, 2013’s sports champions will be the Texans over Seahawks, Clippers over Heat, and Cardinals over Angels. The Twins will narrowly avoid 100 losses once again, and the Timberwolves will finally return to the playoffs in a short-lived series vs. OKC as the #8 seed.

But for today, our focus is squarely on Week 17 of the NFL season. This afternoon’s Vikings-Packers game might be the biggest regular season game I can remember for one of my favorite teams, with the playoffs and the historic rushing record both on the line.